Scientists call on Netherlands to close all coal plants

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An open letter to parliament called on the Netherlands' politicians to close all 11 operating coal plants in the country. According to the 64 professors who wrote the letter, deciding to close the coal plants will send a clear signal in the run-up to the .

The letter was written by 64 professors from, among others, the universities of Leiden, Groningen and Wageningen. Newspaper Trouw published the letter on its website early on Monday morning.

The professors believe that closing the coal plants is the "most effective measure" to reduce greenhouse gasses and that the Netherlands has enough energy supply to do so. They call the end of the coal era inevitable, and call on the government and parliament to close both old and new coal plants before 2020.

According to the professors, the coal industry is in big trouble and is no longer economically viable, partly due to support to the accelerated growth of renewable energy. They point out that closing down the plants does not mean that they are decommissioned. They can be put back into use in extreme circumstances or emergencies.

The letter refers to several examples of other countries taking similar measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Great Britain decided to close all coal-fired plants in the country before 2025 and Germany is closing the doors of eight large lignite power plants. The United States plans to close hundreds of coal plants in the coming years.

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